Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 2, 2018

Today is Friday, Feb. 2, the 33rd day of 2018. There are 332 days left in the year. This is Groundhog Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 2, 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War II.

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On this date:

In 1536, present-day Buenos Aires, Argentina, was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain.

In 1653, New Amsterdam — now New York City — was incorporated.

In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican-American War, was signed.

In 1887, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, held its first Groundhog Day festival.

In 1914, Charles Chaplin made his movie debut as the comedy short “Making a Living” was released by Keystone Film Co. The musical “Shameen Dhu,” featuring the song “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral,” opened on Broadway.

In 1925, the legendary Alaska Serum Run ended as the last of a series of dog mushers brought a life-saving treatment to Nome, the scene of a diphtheria epidemic, six days after the drug left Nenana.

In 1932, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra recorded “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” for Brunswick Records.

In 1959, public schools in Arlington and Norfolk, Virginia, were racially desegregated without incident.

In 1964, Ranger 6, a lunar probe launched by NASA, crashed onto the surface of the moon as planned, but failed to send back any TV images.

In 1971, Idi Amin, having seized power in Uganda, proclaimed himself president.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan pressed his case for additional aid to the Nicaraguan Contras a day ahead of a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives. (The three major broadcast TV networks declined to carry the speech, which was covered by CNN; a divided House voted to reject Reagan’s request for $36.2 million in new aid.)

In 1990, in a dramatic concession to South Africa’s black majority, President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.

Ten years ago: A gunman killed five women at a Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, Illinois, in an apparent botched robbery (the case remains unsolved). French President Nicolas Sarkozy (sahr-koh-ZEE’) and former supermodel Carla Bruni were married at the presidential Elysee Palace. Former Washington Redskins players Art Monk and Darrell Green were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with New England linebacker Andre Tippett, San Diego/San Francisco defensive end Fred Dean, Minnesota/Denver tackle Gary Zimmerman and senior committee choice, Kansas City cornerback Emmitt Thomas. Former Agriculture Secretary Earl L. Butz died at age 98. Actor Barry Morse died in London at age 89.

Five years ago: Former Navy SEAL and “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle was fatally shot along with a friend, Chad Littlefield, at a gun range west of Glen Rose, Texas; suspect Eddie Ray Routh (rowth) was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Coach Bill Parcells, Warren Sapp, Cris Carter, Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings closed out the season with two of the top NFL awards from The Associated Press: Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year. Actor John Kerr, 81, died in Pasadena, California.

One year ago: Declaring that religious freedom was “under threat,” President Donald Trump vowed to repeal a rarely enforced IRS rule that said pastors who endorse candidates from the pulpit risked losing their tax-exempt status. Using a backhoe to smash through a barricade of water-filled footlockers, police stormed Delaware’s largest prison, ending a nearly 20-hour hostage standoff with inmates; one hostage, a guard, was killed.

Today’s Birthdays: Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing (val-eh-REE’ ZHEES’-kahr deh-STANG’) is 92. Actor Robert Mandan is 86. Comedian Tom Smothers is 81. Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash is 76. Television executive Barry Diller is 76. Actor Bo Hopkins is 74. Country singer Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 72. TV chef Ina (EE’-nuh) Garten is 70. Actor Jack McGee is 69. Actor Brent Spiner (SPY’-nur) is 69. Rock musician Ross Valory (Journey) is 69. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is 66. The former president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye (goon-hay), is 66. Model Christie Brinkley is 64. Actor Michael Talbott is 63. Actress Kim Zimmer is 63. Actor Michael T. Weiss is 56. Actor-comedian Adam Ferrara is 52. Rock musician Robert DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) is 52. Actress Jennifer Westfeldt is 48. Rock musician Ben Mize is 47. Rapper T-Mo is 46. Actress Marissa Jaret Winokur is 45. Actress Lori Beth Denberg is 42. Rock musician Jesse Siebenberg (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 42. Singer Shakira is 41. Actor Rich Sommer is 40. Country singer Blaine Larsen is 32. Actress Zosia Mamet is 30.